Amy Umble of the Fredericksburg FreeLance-Star got me thinking when she asked a number of area clergy if they had any advice for soon-to-be graduates. I sent her my short - "might-make-it-through-the-editor" - version, but saved the longer - "preacher-version" - for here. Sometimes I like being my own editor.
Do some long-term thinking about life. Life is like a football game. (My wife is rolling her eyes now, so you can too.)
If you have just graduated, it’s like you’ve just made a first down. Congratulations! Be encouraged, but keep part of your thinking long-term. You need to complete another few first downs, not just be dancing right now. You need to score a touchdown. You want to be winning at the end of the game. Keep an eye on that. You will need to adjust your game plan through the course of things. Make some substitutions. Take some risks. But do some long term thinking.
The best way to do that is to let some people who are in their own third or fourth quarter and winning share some of their experience. Find someone who has been happily married for 20 years and ask them what they have learned. Talk with someone who has made money AND lost money, and ask them how they survived. Sit down with someone who is happy to be alive and ask what they would do differently and what they would do more of in life.
No offense, but it is far too easy for you rely exclusively on your friends for support and decisions. When that happens, you really do run the risk of living by a large accumulation of lack of experience. Pooled ignorance would be an unkind way to put it. But I suppose that if you’re still reading, you get my point. Find some people who have done well at the game that is ahead of you, and see what you can learn from them about what you are heading in to.
Celebrate your first down, but keep thinking about some steps you can take now in order to be winning at the end of the game.
And keep you chin strap buckled on every play. Not everybody out there is playing fair.